Redhouse Park Sundial Feature
This ongoing project is just one part of an ambitious arts trail by Great Linford Parish Council
A large Gnomon (or shadow striker) is to be relocated, from it’s previous home in The Theatre District, to a site at the end of Millfield Gardens, Redhouse Park, Milton Keynes:
In this case the gnomon is a 5M long mild steel Circular Hollow Section, facing true South, at an angle of 52 degrees, making it parallel to The Earth’s Axis. As the planet rotates a shadow on the ground follows a clockwise path. The sketch below shows the hour lines from six AM to mid-day then up to six PM. The sketch below is of the site in plan, with the hour lines radiating out from the gnomon.
The length of the shadow shortens with the sun’s (relative) elevation, allowing us to mark the time of year in lines running across the radiating hour lines:
In this case six lines mark the twelve Signs of The Zodiac. Because the site is highly contoured, these lines distort, as the ground falls away from the line of the shadow. These lines could be picked out in slate off-cuts
Here CAD has been used to simulate solar shadows. A survey of the site may be used to predict where shadows may fall at any time on any date of the year, allowing for the ground falling away from the shadow line.
The curved lines running across the site mark the zones through which the sun’s shadow will pass through various times of the year. These could coincide with the 12 signs of the zodiac, in special anti slip coloured coating, stenciled around the intersecting footpath. Below is a design depicting Aries the ram (March 21st to April 19th)
Here is a CAD Rendering of what the refurbished gnomnon might look like- in this case it has been extended with a laser- cut baffle, with four directional coloured glass filters, so that in bright sunlight the tip will change appearance with the sun’s position.
A recent visit to Granlyn Specialist Coatings, agents for the Metalier finishing system, highlighted some interesting possibilities. Basically powdered metals (typically bronze or gunmetal) is applied in a substrate over an epoxy primer. These finishes can be chemically patinated and/ or buffed to a reflective finish. The coating also has sufficient thickness to take a texture, either through stippling, or with a latex roller
Smokey bronze textured (Patinated, then buffed)
Rose Aluminium with applied texture.
It will be appreciated that although the techniques shown are a fraction of the cost of a specialist foundry casting, they may prove to be beyond the budget of this project.
Again, this is a more recent version of the design. The softworks are as they were when this base photo was taken.
There will be some swathes of bulb planting at ground level- these will come out at different times of the year.